published Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Colleges in Chattanooga area make U.S. News lists

Students walk through the Lee University campus.
Students walk through the Lee University campus.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Area colleges and universities rankings

• Bryan College: No. 4 Up and Coming Schools, No. 20 Regional Colleges (South)

• Covenant College: No. 6 Regional Colleges (South)

• Lee University: No. 12 Best Value Schools, No. 46 Regional Universities (South)

• Middle Tennessee State University: No. 258 High School Counselor Rankings

• Sewanee: University of the South: No. 35 High School Counselor Rankings, No. 36 National Liberal Arts Colleges

• Southern Adventist University: No. 28 Regional Colleges (South)

• Tennessee Technological University: No. 11 Top Public Schools, No. 33 Regional Universities (South)

• Tennessee Wesleyan University: No. 41 Regional Colleges (South)

• University of Tennessee at Chattanooga: No. 14 Best Value Schools, No. 20 Top Public Schools, No. 46 Regional Universities (South)

• University of Tennessee: No. 46 Top Public Schools, No. 101 National Universities, No. 121 High School Counselor Rankings

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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Eastern Tennessee is home to some of the top-tier institutions in the South, according to the latest college rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

Ten colleges and universities within a 100-mile radius of Chattanooga have been included in the magazine's 2013 Best Colleges rankings, released Sept. 12. Five area colleges were listed in the top 20 for several categories, including "Best Value" and best of the region.

"It's a nice nod from the U.S. News, and it makes us feel like we're moving forward," said Brian Conn, director of public information at Lee University, which was at No. 12 on the "Best Value Schools" list and No. 46 on the "Regional Universities (South)" list.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga placed No. 14 on the "Best Value" list and No. 46 on "Regional Universities." UTC was also at No. 20 on the "Top Public Schools" list.

At Tennessee Technological University, affordability is also important. The university ranks No. 2 on "Students with the Least Amount of Debt in 2011," with average debt at graduation a little less than $9,000, according to Queena Jones, director of public information.

"When they go out into the job market, it gives them a leg up," Jones said. "When our students graduate, most don't have any debt."

TTU was also listed on the "Regional Universities (South)" list at No. 33 and the "Top Public Schools" at No. 11.

On the college side, Covenant College ranked No. 6 and Bryan College was No. 20 on the "Regional Colleges (South)" list. Bryan also was listed as No. 4 on "Up and Coming Schools" for the South.

Though school officials say they're honored to be featured in the rankings, they also insist that the numbers should not be the deciding factor when choosing a college.

"It's excellent to be recognized for the excellent work our faculty and staff do," Covenant President Derek Halvorson said. "But, in our view, these rankings don't reflect all that we do."

For Chuck Cantrell, associate vice chancellor of communications and marketing at UTC, the rankings validate what UTC says it offers: a good education at a reasonable price.

"I don't think anyone's choosing a college based on these rankings," Cantrell said. "These rankings can do a couple of things. They can help introduce students to schools that they may not have known about, or they can validate a student's decision about the campus."

The University of Tennessee in Knoxville is the only institution in the region to make the "National Universities" list at No. 101.

Contact staff writer Rachel Bunn at rbunn@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

about Rachel Bunn...

Rachel Bunn is originally from Ellijay, Ga., and graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in magazines and history. While at UGA, she wrote for the student magazine UGAzine, served as news editor for the student newspaper, The Red & Black, and spent a semester studying British history at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She has previously worked at The Rockdale Citizen in Conyers, Ga., and The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the ...

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